I am John. I live in Cincinnati and got hooked on the concept of smoking when I gave a 3 pound brisket a try last summer in my grill with a smoker box. To my absolute shock it came out perfectly. I just purchased a Master Forge vertical smoker with the intent of serving up some mean barbeque on the 4th of July. My first run this weekend didn't go quite as well but I am not ready to give up. It was a 6.5 pound brisket and I got it going about 6AM. I had to wake up at 4:30 AM (welcome the world of smoking meat I guess). It was mother's day and luckily my wife didn't put added pressure on me by inviting family & friends. I assumed at 6.5 pounds a worst case around 11 hours with a 1 hour rest giving me a 12 hour cook. So getting on the smoker by 6 AM I figured worse case of 6PM to eat. This didn't happen. By 4 PM the internal temp was only about 155 and it had been stuck there a while. I have read about this period so just let it go and hoped it would eventually take off. The temp finally started moving. I used foil at about 160 and let it get to about 182 when I finally pulled it off as it was about 5:30. I am guessing I was too early as the brisket wasn't as tender as I would have liked. I also didn't rest it as long and it seemed to lose a ton of juice while resting. It was good brisket but I am not sure why it took so long. I religiously monitored temp of barbeque and had it between 225 and 235 for a majority of the cook. This was monitored with a Maverick Smoking thermometer. I guess for my next run, I need to either start earlier and cook longer, or by a smaller brisket to get it up to 190 or so. My 3 pounder the previous summer I pulled probably around 195 degrees if I remember correctly. I am guessing 183 isn't long enough. Anyway I am glad to be here and will look to post pics in the future but with a new smoker, new thermometer and large brisket, I had my hands full on this first attempt.